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America’s Military

Less than a decade after the great victories of the Cold War and Desert Storm, the U.S. military faces a very different kind of crisis–indeed, a crisis unique in all of military experience. Numerous factors have contributed: a complex, volatile world situation; the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD); the military technological revolution; deep budget cuts; and the ill-advised Read More ›

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Crossway Reader's Bible and commentaries on shelves at the seminary library of Mt. Angel Abbey in Mt. Angel, OR.https://www.crossway.org/bibles/esv-readers-bible-six-volume-set-cob/
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What Every Theologian Should Know about Creation, Evolution, and Design

Introduction From its inception Darwinism posed a challenge to Christian theology. Darwinism threatened to undo the Church’s understanding of creation, and therewith her understanding of the origin of human life. Nor did the challenge of Darwinism stop here. With human beings the result of a brutal, competitive process that systematically rooted out the weak and favored only the strong (we Read More ›

Still Punching Holes in the Defense Industry

One of the great curiosities of the Cold War was its ability to spawn entire industries dedicated to excoriating America’s role in it. Literally tens of thousands of academics, pundits, and activists made entire careers Blaming America First. And one of the most vibrant sectors of that enterprise involved beating on the Military-Industrial Complex that was allegedly destroying America’s economy, Read More ›

The Army vs. The National Guard

The fracas was inevitable. Several weeks ago, the National Guard’s senior leadership concluded that they hadn’t been given a fair chance to make their case before the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). They also concluded that the Army was systematically lying to them about the extent of the Guard reductions they wanted. So they requested a meeting with defense secretary William Read More ›

Monkeying With Science Education

The “Monkey Bill” now before the Tennessee Legislature is a bad means to a good end. The good end is to teach students the fascinating process by which scientific theories come to be established as “facts.” Scientific theories in general and Darwin’s in particular are human interpretations of nature which come to be accepted because they are persuasive. The public Read More ›

A New Paradigm in War

The concept is simple. Its implications are not. And a lot of people at the Pentagon, especially along the Army corridors, just wish it would go away. Here’s the non-technical version, drawn in part from an Air Force briefing that’s been attracting attention within the Building and On the Road. Americans believe – or like to believe, at any rate Read More ›

The Dr. Seuss Defense Debate

Were history honest, the 1990s would already be known as the era of the Dr. Seuss Defense Debate. It was Mostly MRCs — a Pentagon acronym standing for Major Regional Conflict and pronounced, “Murk.” The debate centered on how many it might be nice to fight at the same time, one or two, and on how to go about it. The Read More ›

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Darwin’s Black Box

In Darwin’s Black Box, Michael Behe argues that evidence of evolution’s limits has been right under our noses, but its undoing is evident at such a small scale that we have only recently been able to see it. The field of biochemistry, begun when Watson and Crick discovered the double-helical shape of DNA, has unlocked the secrets of the cell. There, biochemists have unexpectedly discovered a world of Lilliputian complexity. As Behe engagingly demonstrates, using the examples of vision, bloodclotting, cellular transport, and more, the biochemical world comprises an arsenal of chemical machines, made up of finely calibrated, interdependent parts. For Darwinian evolution to be true, there must have been a series of mutations, each of which produced its own working machine, that led to the complexity we can now see. The more complex and interdependent each machine’s parts are shown to be, the harder it is to defend Darwin’s gradualistic paths. Behe surveys the professional science literature and shows that it is completely silent on the subject, stymied by the elegance of the foundation of life. Could it be that there is some greater force at work?

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Alchemy, NK Boolean Style

There’s an old joke about the philosopher Rudolf Carnap and his method of doing philosophy. According to the joke, Carnap’s method was to begin any philosophical investigation with the statement “Consider a formal language L.” As the good logical positivist he was, Carnap desired the precision inherent in formal languages. Unfortunately, precision has its price. Formal languages are not natural languages and the problems expressible in formal languages need not connect to actual problems in the real world. With formal languages the question ever remains whether they adequately capture the subject under investigation.

Appropriately modified, the joke about Rudolf Carnap can be retold about Stuart Kauffman and the scientific method he employs in At Home in the Universe. According to the modified joke, Kauffman’s method is to begin any scientific investigation with the statement “Consider an NK Boolean network.” Indeed, throughout At Home in the Universe just about every real-world problem gets translated into a toy-world problem involving NK Boolean networks. As with Carnap’s formal languages, NK Boolean networks have the advantage of complete logical precision. But they also suffer the disadvantage of losing touch with reality. And it is this disadvantage which ultimately proves the undoing of Kauffman’s project.

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